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In pics: Tens of thousands turn out for Pride parades in Belfast and Brighton

Uniformed officers from the PSNI and An Garda Siochana took part in Belfast’s parade for the first time.

Tens of thousands of people have lined the streets in Brighton and Belfast to watch the colourful annual Pride parades.

In Brighton, a carnival parade started at Hove Lawns at 11am on Saturday followed by a ticketed event in Preston Park.

Lydia Bright, centre, at The Brighton Pride Community Parade (David Parry/PA)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Lydia Bright (second left) onboard the blu float, in support of their âSomething Betterâ™ campaign at The Brighton Pride Community Parade in East Sussex.

The first Brighton and Hove gay Pride march was staged in 1973 but its return was not seen until 1991 amid political anger over Section 28’s ban on the promotion of homosexuality.

As the years passed, the event grew but it hit financial trouble in 2010 despite that year’s Brighton and Hove Pride attracting 160,000 revellers.

The blu float, in support of the Something Better campaign at The Brighton Pride Community Parade in East Sussex (David Parry/PA)
Lydia Bright, second left, onboard the blu float (David Parry/PA)

It underwent a revival with new management in 2012, and organisers say that over the years it has helped change attitudes and promote acceptance and equality.

Meanwhile, uniformed officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Siochana took part in Belfast’s gay Pride parade for the first time.

They were greeted with massive cheers from the crowds.

(Peter Morrison/PA)
(Peter Morrison/PA)

Around 40 uniformed officers from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and other UK police forces were amongst the 8,000 people who marched from Custom House Square in the city centre, watched by an estimated 15,000 supporters.

It was the biggest parade to take place in the region this year.

(Peter Morrison/PA)
(Peter Morrison/PA)

The PSNI has come under some criticism for allowing officers to join the parade, with accusations their participation will undermine the organisation’s stated neutrality in the region.

However, the PSNI has insisted that participation in the event “is about inclusion and representation”.

(Peter Morrison/PA)
(Peter Morrison/PA)

Belfast Pride comes amid heightened scrutiny throughout the UK on LGBT issues in Northern Ireland after the Democratic Unionists’ parliamentary deal with the Conservative Party.

The region’s continued ban on same-sex marriage is one of the issues preventing the restoration of a powersharing government in Belfast.

(Peter Morrison/PA)
(Peter Morrison/PA)

Sinn Fein has said it will only agree to re-enter a coalition administration if the DUP stops blocking a law change.

The DUP has used a controversial Stormont voting mechanism – the petition of concern – to prevent a law change, despite a majority of MLAs supporting the move at the last vote.

The party rejects any suggestion it is homophobic, insisting it is instead protecting the “traditional” definition of marriage.

(Peter Morrison/PA)
(Peter Morrison/PA)

Many participants in Saturday’s parade carried banners and placards calling for the introduction of gay marriage.

A handful of posters with anti-DUP slogans were used by a small number of marchers.

(Peter Morrison/PA)

Earlier, Irish Premier Leo Varadkar attended a gay Pride breakfast in Belfast. He insisted it was not a political gesture, but a “gesture of solidarity”.


From Belfast Telegraph